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In professional services many of us are required or encouraged to keep track of how our time is allocated. We might do this through contemporaneously creating billing items or slips throughout the day. Every time we finish a task or set aside a file to start a new one, we stop and record what we did, who we did it for and how much time it took.  This is considered ‘best practice’ but it isn’t easy.
 
Like most people, you might only remember do this at the end of the day. Once you get out of the habit, you will find yourself creating billing items from last week or even last month. This inevitably ends up with missing time, overlapping time entries, incorrect allocations, and a lack of transparency between what is done and how much that work cost to do.
 
There is an alternative.
 
There are programs that monitor your computer and telephone for all your activity, then categorize it, present it to you to be assigned to a project, and then imported into your billing system as billing items.  I support one of these products, called Chrometa.
 
This is called passive capture and it is an effective tool for reporting how you spend your computer and telephone time.
There are good reasons to use something like this. When employees keep on working, they can remain focused on the tasks to be performed, and later review how the day was spent. We all waste time and think that little things are only minor interruptions, with passive capture, you can see how much time is wasted. Passive capture starts a timer for every document, every email, every website, everything. It is contemporaneous without user engagement.
 
Your workplace may not be blocking Facebook, or E-Bay sites and but you can weigh that against employee costs and lost billable time.
 
Passive capture works well for assigning work to various projects, but it is not capturing other things. We need new tools for ‘seeing’ our digital selves. Our geography, our spending, our likes and interests and connections, these remain somewhat ephemeral. Passive Capture should evolve and capture these things too, and give it back to us every day.
 
We, as consumers and producers, should be informed by our own data. Like bio-feedback, data-feedback is a significant wave in the human experience.  It starts as a ripple, and peaks when that data results in strategic and operational business intelligence.  Contact us for help moving in this direction, you can start with a little Chrometa.

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